Field Marshal the Earl of Cavan (ePub)
Soldier and Fox Hunter
Field Marshal Lord Cavan (1865-1946) was one of the most distinguished commanders of the modern British army, but he divided opinion among his contemporaries. Some senior soldiers were disdainful. Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson described him as ‘ignorant, pompous and vain’ and Brigadier General Sir James Edward Edmonds commented that Cavan ‘was bone from the neck upwards’. Yet many of Cavan’s subordinates praised him, saying ‘I had never seen Lord Cavan before and I was filled with admiration by the calm and quiet self-confidence of his manner’ and ‘Our new General, Lord Cavan, is simply A1 and the whole show runs like a well-oiled machine.’
So what were the real qualities and achievements of this remarkable but hitherto neglected officer who in a long career served in the Boer War and the First World War and then presided over the post-war reduction of the British army? Michael Senior, in the first full biography of Cavan, assesses him as a leader, a corps commander and an administrator, and places him among the front rank of the soldiers of his generation. He also explores Cavan’s personal life, his personality and how his aristocratic background, his wealth and his love of fox hunting affected his conduct in both war and peace.
Dr Michael Senior has, since retiring, devoted much of his energy to researching and publicising aspects of the Western Front in WW1.. He has produced here a biography of one of the 1300 British generals who were active in the war who, as a young officer in 2nd Bn Grenadier Guards, heir to the Earldom of Cavan, confided to a colleague that the summit of his ambition was to command a battalion of his regiment and to be Master of the Hertfordshire Hunt... 5 starsARRSE (Army Rumour Service)
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